On the eve of Super Bowl weekend, team members from across the CQuence Health Group family of companies gathered together for a tailgate party. They enjoyed dips, chips, cookies, guac, salsa; all the fixings one would expect from a respectable pre-game gathering.
This effort, and others like it, don’t just come out of thin air. For the past 12 years, the person responsible for organizing many of these events, which are universally beloved by team members, is Jennifer White.
A Reporting Analyst for the Cassling Service Department, Jennifer thrives by organizing team-building activities for employees. Thanks to her, CQuence, Cassling and Ensocare employees have been able to contribute their time to a charitable cause and take part in a number of events that make CQuence one of the best places to work in healthcare.
Food for Thought
Like most great things in life, the idea behind these team-building exercises began with something simple: chili.
“The chili cook-off has been here for a long time,” said Jennifer.
Each year, employees are challenged to bring their best chili to a taste-off, with everyone voting on their favorites and the winner taking home a prize. In similar fashion, an annual salsa and guacamole contest crowns a new recipe king or queen based on popular vote.
From those humble beginnings, Jennifer decided to put together an event every quarter, and team members have responded by showing up in droves. It’s a wonderful break from the regular work week, and at these kinds of events, you’ll see people from all levels of the company coming together, talking, and just genuinely having a great time.
“I really enjoy the fact that we have a little freedom,” she said. “We still have to get our work done, but it’s not so stuffy around here that you can’t have a little fun. I honestly see these as team building opportunities too. I may get a group or committee together, and it’s people from all three CQuence companies and at every level who normally don’t work together. You might say ‘hi’ to them in the hall but you get to interact with them in a more in-depth way when you do these types of activities.”
But it’s not just internal food events that Jennifer is responsible for. For the past 5 years, Jennifer has organized quarterly visits to Omaha’s Ronald McDonald House, a charity that provides home-cooked meals and a place to stay for out-of-town families whose children receive care at nearby hospitals, particularly the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
“It meant a lot to me and it married my interests of helping families and kids with enjoying to cook,” said Jennifer about her reasons for organizing the Ronald McDonald House event. “We usually have several people that go down and help and then we’ll have a couple more who offer to supply the food, and that’s great because we need both.”
“A few days before, I’m usually the one who picks the menu, then everybody picks out what they would like to contribute. We meet down there at about 4:00 to prepare a dessert and a full meal for about 30 guests.”
“It’s always a really good experience. We visit with the residents and they like talking with new people. I’m getting to know a couple of the families that stay there fairly long-term.”
“What’s most rewarding is being able to help the families that are displaced and in a stressful situation. Here they are away from home and the rest of their family, and they’re taking care of a sick child. There’s a lot of stress in that kind of a situation. To be able to provide a little bit of home cooking and an extra ear to listen feels good and they seem to really appreciate it.”
The CQ Difference
What Jennifer appreciates the most about her time at CQuence is the fact that the company fosters this kind of charity and creativity in the first place. In fact, she’s yet to come up with an idea that she hasn’t been able to put into practice and find a willing audience to join in the fun.
“I love it here,” said Jennifer. “It’s such a great-sized company because you work with all kinds of people and at any level. I have the ability to get involved in a lot of different things, not pigeonholed into one role.”
At CQuence, job levels and titles become less important when each employee has the chance to impact culture and use their unique talents and strengths to the fullest.
“I can get to be a part of the Wellbeing Committee or do some of the CQuence Cares events and work with a wide variety of people throughout the organization. I’ve been a part of bigger companies and it’s harder to feel like you make a difference there.”
“I always tell my boss Carol [Armitage, who will be featured in an upcoming blog, stay tuned!], you’re going to have to kick me out at some point. When I’m too old to do the job, you’re going to have to tell me to leave because I’ll probably never leave on my own. Theoretically, retirement is not that far around the corner for me but I have no intention of leaving anytime soon. It’s a fun job, a challenging job, and I never get bored or tired of it. Never.”
With how much she’s been able to support employee wellbeing at CQuence, we hope she sticks around for a long, long time as well.